8 December 2014

Polly Checkland Harding
Photo of the theatre in the round and its colourful staircases

Introducing our Advent Calendar – here’s the eighth post in a cultural countdown to Christmas. Today: Alien plants and handmade craft.

Royal Exchange’s Christmas production isn’t festive in a traditional way – but it does look like enormous fun. Combine a lovelorn florist with a carnivorous alien plant and what do you get? No, not an odd cracker joke… Instead, Little Shop of Horrors, a sci-fi musical spoof from the 1950s that’s a “gory, scary, glitter and sequins treat,” according to director Derek Bond. Royal Exchange Theatre, 5 Dec-17 Jan, from £15.

Do more. There are plenty of food and drink options close to the Royal Exchange, but it’s also worth leaving time to explore the Christmas Jewellery and Craft Fair at the theatre’s own shop. There are stocking fillers and a wide range of handmade jewellery for sale.

Culture Guides


It’s all about Halloween this month as screens fill up with iconic monsters, brand new scary movies and all sorts of esoteric terrors.


Welcome the autumnal season with all of the art goodness that it brings – there are so many brand new exhibitions to see!


As we say bye to the summer holidays and begin to welcome in the cooler months, Manchester’s events and activities continue to bring joy and fun to families.

Kamila Shamsie. Photo Alex von Tunzelman


There are plenty of online readings and live launches as Manchester and the North welcomes some great writers with book festival season getting underway, and there are loads of new spoken word nights and open mics to check out…


Autumn’s a fine old time for gigs in Manchester and the North. From otherworldly folk to life-affirming soul, here are our top picks for October onwards.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Punchy new writing, anarchic Shakespeare and a chilling vampire love story feature in this month’s eclectic pick of live theatre.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North as we head into autumn.

Tours and Activities

Every season change is an excuse to try something new, and when it comes to tours and activities, autumn delivers!